1212 Fifth pad is priciest condo listing in northern Manhattan

The Real DealMarch 23, 2015

UPDATED, 4:22 p.m., March 23: A five-bedroom condominium unit currently leased to Carmelo Anthony and his wife hit the market late last week for $12 million, making it the priciest condo listing in northern Manhattan.


The full-floor unit at 1212 Fifth Avenue spans 4,000 square feet and features four-and-a-half bathrooms, Curbed reported. CORE’s Lisa Graham has the listing. Meanwhile, a six-bedroom co-op at the Strathmore at 404 Riverside Drive is the priciest unit on the market in the area overall, asking $16 million.


Anthony and his wife LaLa’s lease at the 55-unit Durst Fetner Residential-developed property is set to expire Aug. 1. The Durst-Fetner partnership has since been dissolved, as The Real Deal reported.

Carmelo and LaLa Anthony’s UES Rental Hits the Market for $12M

6SqftMarch 23, 2015

Though their lease doesn’t end until August, Carmelo and LaLa Anthony’sUpper East Side/East Harlem rental has hit the market for $12 million, according to the Post. Fear not, though, the New York Knicks star and his wife will not be homeless. They inked a deal last month for an $11 million, High Line-adjacent, full-floor unit at Cary Tamarkin’s new complex at 508 West 24th Street. The couple’s rental at 1212 Fifth Avenue is a 4,000-square-foot, five-bedroom, pre-war condo with exceptional Central Park views.


A private elevator opens to the home’s large entertaining area, comprised of the living, dining, and library rooms, as well as a den/media room and office space. The residence has high ceilings, a gas fireplace, plaster coffered ceilings and moldings, solid oak wood floors, solid core doors, and recessed LED lighting. Thermo-pane casement windows are bordered by custom millwork concealing the heat and air conditioning units. Both the state-of-the-art kitchen and the luxurious bathrooms boast high-end fixtures, and the latter comes complete with radiant heated floors.


The Anthonys’ move downtown came after a year of touring impressive Chelsea apartments. Their new home has the same contemporary, elegant feel as their former Upper East Side rental.

Renovated Greenwich Village Townhouse Wants $25 Million

CurbedMarch 20, 2015

It's not entirely clear what the brokers mean by "With the spirit of nature" as the inspiration" and "this magnificent home redefines townhouse living by inviting the outdoors inside" (perhaps the fact that the floors are made of wood? From trees?) but regardless, this is a very fancily renovated townhouse right next to Washington Square Park. Good Property bought the building in November 2012 for $9.3 million and tapped Turett Collaborative Architects to renovate it into an enormous single-family home with an elevator, gym, wine cellar, radiant floor heating through, and 1,300 square feet of outdoor space. The house is now asking $25 million.

Top residential agents of the week

The Real DealMarch 20, 2015

Emily Beare and Christian Roger’s closing at 111 Mercer came in among the top 5 deals of the week. 

Carmelo Anthony’s rental hits market for $12M

New York PostMarch 18, 2015

New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony’s sprawling rental at 1212 Fifth Ave. is going on the market today for $12 million — though his lease doesn’t end until Aug. 1.


The five-bedroom in a renovated prewar condo building is a roomy 4,000 square feet. The listing broker is Lisa Graham, of CORE.


Anthony and wife LaLa have bought an $11 million unit at 508 W. 24th St. in architect/developer Cary Tamarkin’s new 10-story building, as Gimme Shelter exclusively reported.

CORE’s Tim Crowley Is an Urban Dreamer

Real Estate WeeklyMarch 13, 2015

CORE’s director of new development Tim Crowley wants to bring the city to the suburbs.


Crowley, who joined CORE in January from architecture and development firm Flank, has a passion for new urbanism, which isn’t surprising considering the slew of successful projects he’s worked on in the biggest urban center in the U.S.


Formerly with Flank, he oversaw marketing and brokerage services for a number of projects in NYC, including sales at 224 Mulberry Street in Nolita, where condos fetched $3,400 p/s/f, and projects 265 State Street in Boerum Hill, 385 W. 12th Street in the West Village, 441 East 57th Street in Sutton Place, The Novare at 135 W. 4th Street, and one of his most notable projects, The Abingdon at 320 W. 12th Street, which broke downtown conversion records.


One of Crowley’s biggest passions is the concept of new urbanism, which is the idea of bringing an urban, walkable lifestyle to suburban areas. While in college, Crowley explored the idea in some of his internships, and looks to work on urbanism projects in the future.


“The things that are wonderful about New York City and that bring people here and excite people, are the pedestrian lifestyle,” he said. “Being able to walk out the front door and go down the street and go to a restaurant, or get a massage, etc., you can all do without getting in a car.”


He was inspired by Andrés Duany, an architect and urban planner who wrote Crowley’s favorite book, “Suburb Nation.” Duany is one of the founders of DPZ, a Florida-based architecture and town planning firm.


New urbanism attempts to recreate that experience in suburban environments – creating denser neighborhoods with more diversity, and walkable environments with shared public spaces, and cutting down on the prevalence and dependence on cars.


“I’d love to at some point in my career, take the beauty of an urban environment and figure out a way to make it work in suburban environments,” he said. He added that he’d love to eventually do a project with Duany.


Crowley grew up splitting his time between South Carolina and Southampton, Bermuda, where his stepfather was the general manager of the Southampton Princess, a luxury resort, and later, when Crowley was attending college, the COO of Tucker’s Point Club Development Company, which developed luxury resorts.


Having grown up in a real estate family (his mother was also a hospitality consultant for bed and breakfasts all across the southeast) real estate was always on the horizon for him.


Crowley went to the University of South Carolina, where he studied history and real estate finance. His first job after graduating college was at Sotheby’s International Realty in NYC, where he worked in marketing.


“My brother lived in New York City when I graduated college and the day I graduated I was bartending at a bar in Columbia (South Carolina) and two friends in law school were driving to New York for winter break and asked if I wanted a ride, and I said I did,” recalled Crowley. “So I got in the car and have been here ever since.”


After his stint at Sotheby’s, Crowley worked for Louise Sunshine and the Sunshine Group, before its merger with Corcoran, where he was a jack-of-all-trades – starting as a marketing manager, then project manager, then worked directly with Louise.


The position eventually took him to Florida for a project called the Brazilian Court hotel-condo in Palm Beach, where he ended up staying in Florida for awhile until the project was complete. He stayed with the Sunshine Group for four years, and was there during the company’s merger with Corcoran.


Following that position, Crowley was looking to get closer the development process and understand how buildings “were capitalized and constructed and delivered,” which is what took him to Flank.


He again wore several hats, from project management, to human resources, to payroll.


“It’s a small shop so you do a little of everything,” he said. “I was there for eight years, and because we controlled and managed every phase of the real estate development process, I was able to learn a great deal about how deals are structured, and buildings designed, built and sold.”


Now at the helm of new development at CORE, Crowley is working on several projects in the works that he can’t discuss yet, but some are boutique projects in “notable” neighborhoods as well as larger projects affiliated with Related Companies.


“I liked working on all of them, they all present very interesting challenges,” he said. “I’ve been working on boutique projects with Flank for eight years and it has been incredibly rewarding, you get to create a sense of home in all these apartments, which you don’t necessarily get to do with a high-rise.”


However, Crowley also enjoys the challenges unique to larger-scale buildings.


“Working on large buildings can be as engaging and interesting, because you’re trying to create an environment that has more shared concepts, and needs to function very well and is luxurious and important on a much larger scale,” he said. “They’re both tremendously challenging and rewarding for different reasons.”


Being a part of constructing homes and often conceptualizing retail environments near the homes has always been a passion of Crowley’s.


“It’s a very romantic notion,” he said. “Real estate development is one of the very rare industries that can be rewarding from an art perspective and a financial perspective. It’s not like pushing stocks across the screen where the main focus is wealth; our main focus is compelling real environments and 3D spaces that are extraordinarily important and meaningful for the people inhabiting them. Being able to write that narrative is really rewarding.”


Crowley, who lives in Tribeca, is an avid surfer and enjoys playing golf at the club he is a member of in Greenwich, CT. He has spent considerable time in Indonesia and Nicaragua and has a trip planned to Nicaragua in April.

Patrick Lilly | 147 West 15th Street, 5N

Modern NYCMarch 09, 2015



Beautifully designed loft on a prime Chelsea block with a flexible layout. Both sunny and quiet, the approximately 2,400-square-foot space has oversized windows facing north with lovely Empire State Building views. A massive living/dining space is open to the kitchen which features high-end appliances, sleek cabinetry and a limestone island. Configured as a 2-bedroom plus den with 2.5 baths, rooms flow into each other with movable walls that function as doors and translucent materials which allow light to permeate into neighboring rooms. The space has a clean, modernist aesthetic which is achieved through grand storage rooms used for dressing, pantries or laundry. Serenity is enhanced by sound- reducing concrete floors within the building, 12-foot ceilings, column-free space and central A/C.

Brokers facing tough choices when portals raise prices for ‘featured’ listings

InmanMarch 05, 2015

Those not willing to pay more for exclusivity must accept ads for competing agents on their listings.


When Zillow told New York City-based brokerage CORE in December that the price of "featuring" its listings on the portal in 2015 would be four times what it paid in 2014, the company decided to cancel its ad spend.


Instead of paying to feature listings on the site -- blocking advertisements for competing agents in the process -- the brokerage transitioned to Zillow's free Zillow Pro for Brokers program. While that move opened up dozens of listings marketed by CORE's 113 agents on Zillow to ads from other agents, participating in the Pro for Brokers program does provide some additional branding, CORE Executive Vice President Doug Heddings told Inman.


CORE's not alone in having to devise a strategy to address rising ad rates on Zillow, Trulia and, real estate's most popular search sites for consumers.


Inman talked to five brokerages that have recently negotiated new contracts with one or more of the big three portals. All of them said ad rates are on the rise -- particularly on Zillow and Trulia, which appear to be playing catch-up with


Brokers who find themselves in similar situations can either pay higher prices for exclusivity, accept ads for competing agents alongside of their listings, or pull their listings altogether. Not an easy choice for many.


While real estate agents and brokerages love to complain about the portals, most have been loathe to break off relations entirely, because many sellers expect their homes will be marketed on the sites.


When brokerages pay for their listings to be "featured" on Zillow and Trulia, they prevent ads for buyer's agents (left) from appearing alongside of those listings. When they pay to "enhance" listings on, inquiries submitted through unbranded lead forms that appear next to listings (right) are directed exclusively to the listing broker, and not to competing agents or brokers.


The scale of price increases is hard to pin down. While Inman found only five brokers who say prices are rising, industry scuttlebutt suggests portals are seeking price increases on a more widespread basis.


Zillow Group, which took questions on behalf of both Zillow and Trulia, wouldn't say if the portals were indeed raising prices across the board for brokerages to feature their listings.


"We develop our product pricing differently in every market depending on a variety of factors," Zillow Group spokeswoman Amanda Woolley said. "We also have many unique partnerships that are tailored to meet our partners’ specific needs, of which we don’t discuss the terms of."


If prices are rising, the reasons aren't clear.


But it's well documented that the big three search portals can't sell ads or generate leads for buyer's agents on a significant chunk of their listings, thanks largely to enterprise-level featured listing deals they've signed with brokers and franchisors.


Listing brokers and agents were paying to "enhance" 42 percent of listings on, and site operator Move Inc. was looking into raising prices for its Showcase Listing Enhancements ad product, Move CFO Rachel Glaser said last year on a conference call with investors.


Like Zillow, Move declined to answer detailed questions from Inman about its pricing.


"There’s no apples-to-apples comparison when it comes to features and pricing models across the different real estate experiences," Move spokeswoman Lexie Puckett told Inman. She added: " attracts the most transaction-ready consumers, and as a result provides brokers and agents with the highest-quality leads and conversion rates."


Between 45 and 55 percent of listings displayed on Zillow don't display ads for competing buyer's agents, according to a study conducted last June by PAA Research, a firm that provides insights to stock market investors.


By prying brokerages off of their listings, Zillow could open up more ad inventory for its breadwinners: agents.


The $239 million that agents paid Zillow for exposure on the portal last year accounted for nearly three-fourths of the company's total revenue. By comparison, display revenue, which includes revenue from broker- and franchisor-level ad deals, totaled just $58.7 million. (Whether ad prices for agents are also headed up will be the subject of a future Inman report.)


There's a chance that ad products for brokers and agents will look considerably different at the end of the year when the portal landscape's current upheaval settles down. Zillow Group has been digesting Trulia for less than a month, and News Corp. is still in just its third month of ownership of Move.


In a recent Inman guest column, James Dwiggins, CEO of the new franchise brand NextHome, noted rumors have been flying for months that Zillow Group might discontinue broker- and franchisor-level featured listings altogether later this year.


Just raising prices could have unintended consequence for the portals, Brian Boero, the founding partner of real estate design and consulting firm 1000watt, noted in a recent blog post. If the price of featured listings on Zillow, Trulia and goes up, that could push brokers to search for a new outlet, such as a national broker portal project currently in development.


Responding to rising prices


In all, Inman spoke to five firms that have recently negotiated renewals of their featured listing ad contracts with at least one of the big three portals.


Executives at all of the firms except CORE asked that their firms remain anonymous because they were either in negotiations with one or more of the portals, or expected to be soon.


The firms that recently negotiated ad contracts with Zillow or Trulia began those talks before Zillow completed its acquisition of Trulia last month -- the price increases they agreed to don't cover both sites. Some of the firms are still in negotiations with Zillow or Trulia.


At some point later this year, Zillow Group, the new entity that houses both Zillow and Trulia, will begin offering a single set of ad products to brokers and agents that will cover both portals, but the firm declined to specify whether new contracts Zillow or Trulia sign with brokerages now cover listings on both portals.

Best Real Estate Trend

Manhattan MagazineMarch 02, 2015

224 Mulberry is included in a piece on the emergency of smaller, boutique buildings in NYC.

Movers & Shakers

Leverage Global PartnersMarch 01, 2015

Eileen Spinola, the wife of Steven Spinola, the outgoing president of the Real Estate Board of New York, is also leaving the organization. Spinola was responsible for REBNY’s education programs, played a role in the growth of its residential division, and organized many of the group’s social events.

Real estate investment veteran Anthony McElroy joined Herald Square Properties as a partner, and will oversee acquisition of commercial properties for the group. Before joining Herald Square Properties, he was senior managing director for what is now DTZ, in charge of acquisitions and dispositions for its New York Investment Fund.

Gabriele Sewtz, who ranked as Elliman’s No. 3 Brooklyn broker in 2013, has moved to Compass, and will spearhead the opening of the firm’s Brooklyn office.

Heather McDonough and Henry Hershkowitz joined CORE as a new sales agent team. They were previously at Douglas Elliman, where they were ranked among the top-10 agent teams at the firm.

Citi Habitats hired Christopher Young as director of advertising and marketing. He will be responsible for marketing campaigns, social media outreach and event planning. Young formerly oversaw marketing and advertising at Stribling and Associates.

John Cahill joined Cresa to lead the firm’s new life sciences practice at the New York office, and will seek to expand the firm’s pharmaceutical, medical and biotechnology client base. Cahill was previously at Colliers International, where he was responsible for office and laboratory leasing.

Colliers International tapped Kimberly Brennan as chief operating officer. A veteran broker with 21 years of industry experience, Brennan will oversee business operations for the firm’s tri-state offices. She was previously at Cushman & Wakefield.

JLL hired Joseph Messina to be executive managing director of its New York consulting/advisory group. He formerly served as executive managing director at Studley.

Also on the move

Stephen Earle, the former Ralph Lauren senior vice president of home design, joined Related Companies as senior vice president and creative director … Brad Hamel was appointed by Alliance Residential Company as senior vice president of operations for the northeast and southeast … Angel Johnson joined Brown Harris Stevens as a residential agent … Jon Ziefert joined Stroock & Stroock & Lavan’s real estate practice group as special counsel in the firm’s New York office.

$12.75 Million | 224 Mulberry St.

Alexa: Luxe LivingFebruary 28, 2015

One of two duplexes in a boutique Nolita building, this 3,924-square-foot, four-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom condo is awash in cool, "contemporary and contextual design." Such as the custom kitchen, with polished marble counters and Gaggenau appliances, and the master bathroom's freestanding, cast-iron tub and dual sinks with Barber Wilsons fixtures. A wood-burning fireplace warms up the "Expansive" living/dining area, and, come spring, you can take advantage of the "grand" private terrace. Agents: Emily Beare and Tim Crowley, Core, 212-726-0786 and 212-726-0163. 

West Village Townhouse for $17 Million

The New York TimesFebruary 27, 2015

A 25-foot-wide, bow-fronted townhouse in the West Village, whose distinctive facade, commodious interior and outdoor garden have made it a sought-after locale for filmmakers, sold for $17,000,000, more than 20 percent above its asking price, and was the most expensive sale of the week, according to city records.


The annual taxes on the four-story house at 66 Morton Street, currently configured with two bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths, are $31,298.60; the original list price from last October was $13,900,000.


“There was a bidding war,” said Eileen Robert of the Corcoran Group, the listing broker, along with Charlie Miller. “It’s the only one of its kind in the West Village, and 25-footers are the rarest of commodities of all townhouses.”


The house, built in 1852 for the trustees of Trinity Church, according to the listing, had been owned since December 1969 by Mary E. Kaplan, and is “in need of updating,” Ms. Robert said. “But they have the best bones to work with.” Many of the original details, including the decorative moldings and ornate fireplaces, remain.


Ms. Kaplan had rented out the 5,800-square-foot property several times for movie shoots. The house, for instance, served as Harrison Ford’s residence in “Working Girl,” Matthew Broderick’s in “The Night We Never Met” and Winona Ryder’s in “Autumn in New York.”


The buyer’s identity was shielded by a limited liability company, Triple Y Properties.


The runner-up, at $11,000,000, was an apartment on the 16th floor of Linden78, a 21-story beige-brick condominium built in 2008 on a prime Upper West Side block near the Hudson River and Central Park. Monthly carrying costs for the four-bedroom four-bathroom unit, No. 16A, situated at 230 West 78th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue, are $6,513.


Lori Ben-Ari of CORE represented the sellers, Stephen P. Murray, the former chief executive of the private equity firm CCMP Capital Advisors, and his wife, Tami A. Murray; the couple bought the apartment in the spring of 2011 for $7,127,750. Ms. Ben-Ari said the Murrays had “loved the open layout and the outdoor space,” a 786-square-foot terrace that offers views of the river and park.


The 3,840-square-foot residence also features a private landing and a master-bedroom suite with a spacious walk-in closet and dressing area, as well as a mud room/laundry area.


Dylan Hildreth-Hoffman of Douglas Elliman Real Estate represented the buyers, Bruno Mejean and Martina Hund-Mejean. Mr. Mejean is the founder and principal of BJM International, a company involved in renewable energy, while Ms. Hund-Mejean is the chief financial officer of MasterCard.

Top residential agents of the week

The Real DealFebruary 27, 2015

Price:  $11,000,000
Listing brokers: Lori Ben-Ari of CORE
Address: 230 West 78th Street


Price:  $10,150,000
Listing brokers: Joshua Wesoky and Steve Dawson of Sotheby’s International Realty
Address: 73 Wooster Street


Price:  $7,400,000
Listing brokers: Jeffrey Levitas and Madeline McKenna of Brown Harris Stevens
Address: 285 Central Park West


Price:  $6,850,000
Listing brokers: Gilad Azaria of Douglas Elliman
Address: 200 Riverside Boulevard


Price:  $6,500,000
Listing brokers: Randall Gianopulos and Stan Ponte of Sotheby’s International Realty
Address: 443 East 87th Street


Luxe listings: New York

New York PostFebruary 25, 2015

224 Mulberry and 93 Worth listings are prominently featured in this month’s luxury listing round-up. 

The closing costs: What it takes to please New York City's most elite real estate buyers

MashableFebruary 23, 2015

Loft six of 17 East 16th Street, near Union Square, is buzzing. It's Saturday night just past 6 p.m. and the elevator hums with activity. Its steel green doors open into the apartment, where geometric paintings line the spacious entry and sparkling lights dangle from the ceiling. The smell of burning candles wafts through the air, mingling with the sounds of a live jazz band tucked by the entrance. Paint chips off the walls; the dark wood floors are trodden and faded.


Everything is in its place, designed to make guests feel chic and rustic — and ready to spend millions of dollars. This is how you sell New York real estate to a guest list of millionaires looking to buy their own slice of the city.


Superstar broker Fabienne Lecole has hired an event-planning company to serve tuna sashimi and champagne. About a hundred of Lecole’s clients arrive. In sleek suits and stilettos, they chatter and peruse the artwork.


Lecole, tiny at 5-foot-3, weaves through the crowd. She’s put together, as always, wearing black pumps, leather pants and red lipstick. A sleeveless navy blouse shows off her muscular arms.


She recites the story of the loft. Owner Bernice Stacy was a painter, married to another artist. The two bought the place in the early 1970s, when the building converted from manufacturing lofts to residences.


They split the loft in two: their living space and a studio rental for artists. Painters had studied andworked there for years. A browning note is still taped on one of the room’s green doors: “To keep a line of anxious arTisTs. From jumping abouT ouTside The door. Please leave iT slightly open, When coming ouT To drink some more!”


“That was great,” she gushes the following day. “They loved it.”Lecole had actually sold the loft days before the event, three months after it had gone on the market. The event gave her a few backup offers, too, though she’d likely not need them. The place had sold for very near the asking price Stacy requested: $5 million, paid in cash.


Then she's on to the next. She must do more of these events — networking, reconnecting, reminding people she’s here. Otherwise she risks becoming another forgettable face in a city full of brokers clawing their way up.


There are about 27,000 licensed real estate salespersons and brokers in Manhattan, The Real Deal reported in 2013. Even with tens of thousands in the field, local real estate site StreetEasy reported just 4,803 units were sold in the borough in the third quarter of 2014.


The average price of a Manhattan property was $1.68 million in 2014, an all-time high, according to the Wall Street Journal. The median price was $911,000.


For brokers aiming for homes (and commissions) higher than New York's average, competition gets even steeper. Agents like Lecole, who has sold homes up to $20 million, have to roll out the red carpet at all hours of the day.


It's a field where you must be “always growing every single day,” says broker Ryan Serhant, star of Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing New York. Like Lecole, he is one of the city’s busiest and most sought after brokers. “If you’re not doing more today than you were yesterday, you’re dying.”


“I’m never satisfied," echoes Lecole.


Born in 1963 and originally from Montauban, France, Lecole relocated to the U.S. after completing a law degree in 1987. “Everything was big,” she says of her lifelong attraction to the country. “The cities, the towers, the skyscrapers.”


She moved in with family friends in Los Angeles, where she ultimately cofounded a company to import gourmet French foods to the U.S. One of her company’s first clients was Trader Joe’s.


Her business travels in the late '80s led her to New York, where she would ultimately relocate.


“When I came here everybody was in a rush, stressed,” she says of her first visit. “That’s me. I’m always rushed. I like being stressed.”


In the city she met and fell in love with her future husband, another French expat, in late 1992. They had three sons, Louis, in 1994, Martin (1996) and Arnaud (1999). Just before Arnaud’s birth, tired of travel and ready to invest fully in motherhood, Lecole quit her gourmet food business.


Soon, however, she got restless. So she secured her real estate license in 2001.


Lecole completed the necessary 75-hour course and qualifying exam at the New York Real Estate Institute in Manhattan, a requirement for becoming an agent in the state. That's when Barbara Corcoran, cofounder of one of New York’s top real estate firms The Corcoran Group, offered Lecole a job.


Lecole quickly climbed the ranks to become one of the company's top 2% of brokers (there are over 1,900 in the group). Over 13 years, she sold high-end homes to buyers like actor Neil Patrick Harris, who


now owns an 8,000-square-foot $3.75 million townhouse in Harlem, and legendary '90s rapper The Notorious B.I.G.’s, who grew up in Brooklyn's Bed-Stuy neighborhood.


In another move, Lecole joined Northeast firm William Raveis Real Estate, Mortgage and Insurance in the summer of 2014. There now, Lecole is building a team of agents around her to share the load (and the profits) under her name. Despite a constant stream of repeat buyers and sellers, Lecole never says no to new clients and more business. In New York real estate, the only way to succeed is to always grow and always go.


“My kids say I breathe real estate,” she laughs.


She works fast, 18-hour days, waking no later than 7 a.m. every morning with a glass of juice and the New York Times, to immerse herself in business right away. Depending on the day, she reviews additional publications: the am on Wednesdays, the New York Post on Thursdays. She gets The Real Deal emails every night, before it releases to everyone else the following morning; she pulls out her phone to show off the latest buildings.


Then she heads to the office, hair and makeup on point, in her usual pumps and leather. At William Raveis, she checks emails, calls brokers, sellers and buyers. As midday approaches, she leaves to show listings, on average four to six apartments per day, including Saturdays and Sundays.


Lecole has “big, positive energy,” especially when she's out showing apartments. She greets clients with kisses on each cheek. She regales them with each building's amenities — a rooftop pool, sprawling views of the city, the luxurious museum or park location.


On a recent showing, Lecole took a returning client to several $1 million investment properties at One Museum Mile. “Beautiful finish,” she said of the wood floors in a cramped, junior one-bedroom. It's expensive and small, but her passion is contagious.


“You have to believe in the house if you want someone to believe in the house,” she says.


As a broker, Lecole is responsible for representing sellers, that is, people selling particular spaces on the market, such as the loft in Union Square. But she also helps buyers looking for homes in the city, and prospective renters. Networking, working referrals from her clients and reconnecting with old contacts is key. Many brokers even send birthday cards to clients.


“When you hire your broker, this is a person that you’re going to be in day-to-day contact with discussing some of the most intimate details of your life," says broker Mickey Conlon. His partner (both in life and in work) Tom Postilio is a broker, too. Selling luxury homes at real estate firm CORE, the two star on HGTV's Selling New York and have worked with Lecole in the past.


Conlon and Postilio throw a yearly party around the holidays for their clients. Both originally in show business, last year's party was held at grand and upscale club The Players in Gramercy Park. It included a cocktail reception, a three-course meal and a show by a renowned jazz guitarist John Pizzarelli. In the past, Postilio and Conlon have hired Grammy Award-winning singer Michael Feinstein.


In a city where a 300-square-foot studio can go for $300,000 and 15,400-square-foot penthouse for $118 million, Lecole has sold everything from a $350,000 apartment in Chelsea to a $20 million townhouse in the West Village. Some of Lecole's clients are investors looking to buy a two bedroom, two bath condominium in NoHo and rent it out; others are families seeking large homes in Brooklyn Heights.

No matter where they fall on the totem pole, brokers make between 5-6% commission from a sale, split halfway between the seller’s broker and the buyer’s broker. Success depends on getting those expensive properties. And they fight for that 6%, says Lecole.

Her specialties are her own area in Harlem and former neighborhood, the Upper East Side. In Harlem she sold 10 homes in 2014. She was named Carnegie Hill Salesperson of the Year for 2009 and 2012.

“Her acumen, particularly about the Harlem area, was quite striking,” says Eugenie Jacobson, a client who bought a home through Lecole in 2013.


Lecole took Eugenie and husband Derek to see about 10 homes. They ultimately found their 119th Street townhouse a month and a half into the process. (Finding a home can take anywhere from one day to 12 months or more, depending on the client.) The spacious, four-floored home was built around 1903. It features sprawling wood floors, nine fireplaces, brick walls, a dumbwaiter and gryphons chiseled into the staircase’s original wood. They bought it for $2.82 million and, after a year of renovations, will be moving in 2016.


Lecole's own home, built circa 1900, features original wood doors and floors, 14-foot ceilings, a nook on the staircase where servants would sit (“I don’t have any servants,” she says) and colorful photos and paintings by friends and artists Victor Matthews and Joelle Deroy.


Aside from parties, “most brokers will hand people a bottle of champagne at closing,” says Conlon.


When touring her beloved Harlem, Lecole talks excitedly about the gospel singing you can hear from the street. She loves the international community (“I’ve never spoke as much French as since we moved to Harlem,” she says), the culture. Around the corner from her tree-lined row of brownstones, she points out French and Italian restaurants on Frederick Douglas Boulevard. The area reminds her of Paris.


Afternoons, after showings, it is back to the office, where Lecole sends more emails, makes more phone calls and catches up with paperwork. She might do a bit of marketing.


Then home for dinner with her teenage sons, who she speaks of often. Her youngest shares a passion for art; they visit galleries and museums together monthly.


They eat (though Lecole doesn't cook), and before bed she reads French literature or selections from her sons’ high school curricula and books about architecture.


Lastly, she checks new listings and goes to sleep.


Despite Lecole’s success, the ups and downs of real estate are daily battles. Deals fall through regularly — the seller decides he ultimately doesn't want to sell; the bank transfers don't come through; the whole buy is a hoax; the buyer reaches the final steps of purchasing and decides she doesn't want the house after all. It is a people business and therefore filled with fickleness.


Lecole’s toughest day on the job was when a couple who’d planned to buy a $20 million townhouse in Carnegie Hill decided not to buy, despite having already put a $2 million deposit.


Many can't handle the stress, the unpredictability and the lack of benefits.


Like most brokers, former agent Francesca Hoffman worked on the other end of the spectrum, renting to students and young couples looking in Crown Heights and Bed-Stuy. She was lured into the job with promises of a career like Lecole’s, but soon put a stop to it.


It was an “emotional rollercoaster,” she says. “You close a deal and you’re euphoric, and then you don’t close anything for two or three weeks … You don’t know where your rent is gonna come from.”


“Every single time I lose a deal, it’s the worst day of my career," says Serhant, explaining the difficulties even at the level of clients he works with. And everyone starts at the bottom. The first 12 months of working, he made only $8,000.


But, “you cannot worry about the bad ones,” says Lecole. “You worry for 10 seconds and move on.”


Besides wanting more money and putting in more hours, resilience is the key to New York real estate — getting up and doing more the following day, checking more listings before sleep and first thing upon waking. Always more.


But here, Lecole is different. She's always willing to do more, and does. For her, the real problem is inventory, having enough places to sell. There just never seem to be enough.

Modern Family's Jesse Tyler Ferguson Buys in Gramercy

CurbedFebruary 19, 2015

Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who plays Mitchell Pritchett on the outrageously popular television show Modern Family, has picked up a modest Gramercy co-op. The sale was spotted by 6sqft, who report that the one-bedroom apartment at 200 East 16th Street closed for $1.23 million. It seems like the apartment will be a New York City crashpad; Ferguson and husband Justin Mikita have a much larger home—that once belonged to songstress Gwen Stefani—in Los Angeles.

On The Market

Architectural DigestFebruary 13, 2015

93 Worth Street is mentioned in Estates - On The Market of Architectural Digest's March issue. 

In the News: Proposal for a Big New FiDi Plaza

Tribeca CitizenFebruary 11, 2015

“There are restaurants in Tribeca that I absolutely love,” Almond’s Eric Lemonides told WWD. “But there are very few really good, let’s-take-the-kids-and-go-get-something-to-eat places. Our bread and butter are the people who live up the block and are like, ‘come on, let’s go to Almond.’” So answer my email, eh? Anyway, the article says the restaurant officially opens next week.


“The Downtown Alliance is proposing to eliminate a two-lane exit ramp from the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and combine a pair of small Financial District plazas that it separates into a single, larger public square.” That’s it in red. —Broadsheet


Manhattan Portage has a Q&A with Azikiwe Mohammed, “one of the very few NYC artists you will meet to be born and raised in Tribeca.” Also, he has “dedicated over half his life to working for the Church Street School for Music and Art.”


Eater loved Little Park. By the way, the restaurant seems to be holding the high-top tables along W. Broadway for walk-ins.


Event and floral designer DeJuan Stroud has moved from 433 Washington to Hell’s Kitchen. I noticed the other day that the company had left; it made me wonder whether someone has plans for that building (and its neighbor to the north?), but I saw nothing on the DOB’s website. Actually, it and its three neighbors to the north could be headed for development…. I had heard a rumor that 27 Desbrosses is not log for this world. —New York Times


The retail condo at 261 Broadway sold; that’s where a Wendy’s was said to be in the works. It was bought by “the Doria family, which founded the popular gourmet grocery store Grace’s Marketplace.” A Grace’s at that spot would be interesting, but it’s likely just an investment. —The Real Deal


A bit of turmoil at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. —Wall Street Journal


If you’ve never read about how those old houses on Harrison got there, 6sqft tells the story again. Also, lots of neat pix, like the one below (courtesy of Tom Postilio and Mickey Conlon of CORE).

When Apartment Listings Are Misleading

The New York TimesFebruary 07, 2015

Guarding Against Inaccuracies


During my recent search to buy an apartment, I came across many misleading listings on websites. Many studios were listed as one-bedrooms. And even some one-bedrooms were listed as two-bedrooms. The square footage was frequently incorrect, with different numbers on different websites. I found that the common charges and taxes cited were also unreliable. Are there regulations against such poor standards?


Upper West Side, Manhattan


“Welcome to New York City real estate,” said Paul Purcell, a managing director at the New York City office of William Raveis. “Given that we have no multiple listing service or central source for information, we are at the mercy of garbage in and garbage out. And then that misinformation gets duplicated as it gets picked up by various sites scraping other sites for information.”


New York City does not have a single, centralized location for real estate listings like the national multiple listing service, which is widely used in other markets. Nor is there a standard form that all brokers use, leaving plenty of room for error. Apartment hunters are at the mercy of brokers to update a listing when the price changes or the unit goes into contract. To make things even more confusing, co-ops measure square footage differently from condominiums. And then, of course, one person’s Junior Four is another’s two-bedroom.


“Room counts also range,” said Patrick Lilly, an associate broker for CORE. “For example, a windowed alcove studio with a wall up is called a one-bedroom legally.”


But brokers are not supposed to make things up. “Nearly every regulatory body involved with real estate does have rules against intentionally misleading the consumer,” said Doug Perlson, the president of the Manhattan Association of Realtors and the founder of RealDirect.


Both the National Association of Realtors and the Real Estate Board of New York have codes of ethics for members. The New York Department of State has laws requiring brokers to give honest and accurate descriptions of the properties they list. The department has the authority to revoke or suspend a broker’s real estate license. If you see a listing that is patently inaccurate, you could start by alerting the listing broker to the error. If you suspect the misinformation was intentional, report the listing to the manager of the office, the Real Estate Board or the Department of State, where you can file a complaint online or by phone at (518) 474-4429.


Brokers insist the industry is no Wild West. The dreaded comments section on many websites helps keep brokers in line. “The days of the bait and switch, those don’t really happen anymore,” said Adam Ginder, chief operating officer of MNS, a brokerage firm.


Confronted With a Fire Hazard


I own a 10th-floor apartment in a 12-story building constructed in 1910. The building, now a condo, is in a landmark neighborhood and has no sprinkler system. Apartments such as mine have no fire escape or means of emergency egress other than the central stairway. The board recently instituted a policy for all residents to put household rubbish in that central stairway for daily pickup by a building porter. I’ve pointed out to the board that the policy violates the city fire code. The board has responded with deaf ears; the same is true of the city fire department. What, if anything, can I do, short of bringing a lawsuit against the board?


Gramercy Park, Manhattan


A condo board wields substantial power over how a building is run, but its members cannot endanger the safety of residents or blatantly disregard the law. “Boards mistakenly believe that they can do whatever they want because of a legal rule known as the Business Judgment Rule,” said Leni Morrison Cummins, a Manhattan real estate lawyer, referring to the state rule that gives condo and co-op boards wide latitude when making decisions about a building.


In this case, the board has crossed a line. Write a letter to the board and the managing agent, detailing the situation and including photographs. Most condo bylaws include provisions that require boards to maintain the common elements and rectify illegal conditions. Be sure to point to these provisions in your letter. Send the letter certified mail, with a return receipt requested.


You should also report the situation to the city. You can lodge a complaint with the Bureau of Fire Prevention by calling directly at (718) 999-2541 or calling 311. The bureau would then instruct your local fire company to inspect the building. An inspector could issue the building a violation, or possibly even a criminal summons, according to Ms. Cummins. The board would then need to resolve the violation and might face fines.


But, “this is a double-edged sword,” Ms. Cummins said. As a unit owner, you would have to pay a proportionate share of the fines, even if you were the whistle-blower.


Combining Apartments


I own two contiguous units in a co-op that I combined into one. The city has not asked me to change my certificate of occupancy, nor have I requested to have it changed. I pay two maintenance and utility bills. Should I request a certificate of occupancy update from the city? What are the pros and cons of doing so?


East Midtown, Manhattan


Changing the certificate of occupancy is not a matter of choice. It is dictated by the city’s building code and depends on how the apartments were combined. Your architect or your engineer should know if your renovated apartment is in compliance with the law — and if that requires changing the certificate of occupancy, according to a Buildings Department spokesman.


Frequently co-ops do not approve renovation plans that trigger a change in the certificate of occupancy. “Buildings are loath to let anyone mess with their certificate of occupancy, for fear that an inspection may turn up issues that have nothing to do with the work at hand,” said Mauricio Salazar, a principal of Salazar Architecture.


If your plans did not increase the number of bedrooms, for example, you may simply need a letter of completion from the city’s Department of Buildings. Call your architect or engineer to ensure the paperwork was completed. As for simplifying your maintenance and utility bills, ask the managing agent about combining the two stock certificates and leases into one.

Top residential agents of the week

The Real DealFebruary 06, 2015

Emily Beare and Christian Rogers are featured in The Real Deal's "Top residential agents of the week".


ThrillistFebruary 04, 2015

Two recent CORE closings, 159 Carlton (Doug Bowen & Paul Johansen) and 37 Harrison Street (Tom Postilio & Mickey Conlon), are featured in a piece on NYC homes with an interesting history.


What it used to be: Feuchtwanger Stables

What it is now: Loft condo at 159 Carlton Ave


Many of Fort Greene’s historic stables were razed to make room for commercial and residential buildings, but this beauty lucked out. Nearly a century after its construction in 1888, this Romanesque Revival building underwent its initiation for gentrification and now serves as a one-bedroom apartment with absolutely zero hay in it.


ThrillistFebruary 04, 2015

Two recent CORE closings, 159 Carlton (Doug Bowen & Paul Johansen) and 37 Harrison Street (Tom Postilio & Mickey Conlon), are featured in a piece on NYC homes with an interesting history.


What it used to be: Three houses on Washington St

What it is now: One house at 37 Harrison St


If you ever want to save a house from being demolished, chain yourself to it and call the developers bluff, or, just tow it out of harms way with a truck. The latter is what happened to three 19th century houses back in the 1970s. Dubbed the Wilson Hunt Homes, at 37 Harrison St, the three homes are now one huge Federal-style brick house.

Time Equities, Hamlin plan boutique condo at Nolita church

The Real DealFebruary 02, 2015

After paying more than $30 million for St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral School in Nolita, developers Time Equities and Hamlin Ventures will market seven luxury condos with a total sellout of $70.7 million, according to plans filed with the state Attorney General’s office.


According to the offering plan for 34 Prince Street, a three-bedroom condo measuring 2,743 square feetwill ask $7.74 million. A four-bedroom, 3,673-square-foot duplex (with a 1,210-square-foot terrace) will ask $12.5 million. A triplex measuring 4,478 square feet will ask $11.925 million.


Hamlin’s Abby Hamlin and Time Equities’ Francis Greenburger acquired the former school building – on Prince between Mott and Mulberry Streets – for $30.7 million in November. The building, a former orphanage, convent and parochial school, was declared a landmark in 1966.


In addition to the seven condos, the project will include a church-related community facility and two townhouses measuring between 9,000 and 10,000 square feet. Prices for the townhouses were not included in the offering plan. CORE is marketing the townhouses, while Time is marketing the condos in-house, according to the offering plan.


The development at 34 Prince is one of several boutique projects to hit the luxury market, such as Sorgente Group’s eight-unit 60 White Street and Flank Development’s six-unit building at 224 Mulberry Street.


Tim Crowley, director of new development at Core, said the boutique building will fit into the “boutique neighborhood.”


“Nolita is a neighborhood that’s very demure in scale,” he said. “The recent projects added to the neighborhood reflect that.”


Hamlin Ventures and Time Equities jointly developed 14 townhouses in Brooklyn, at 267-287 State Street in Boerum Hill.

The week in luxury: A map of NYC’s priciest apartment sales

The Real DealFebruary 02, 2015

Christian Rogers and Emily Beare’s closing at Walker Tower was the 2nd highested recorded sale in NYC last week.

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